YC alumnus Smyte raises $4 million to counter online attacks
By BÉRÉNICE MAGISTRETTI for Venture Beat
Smythe, which provides software to stop scams, fraudulent activities, and compromised accounts from disrupting the web, has secured an additional $4 million in funding.
Founded in 2014 by a group of former Facebook, Google, and Instagram engineers, the security startup is a graduate of Y Combinator’s Winter 2015 batch. “We perform real-time classification, visualize trends, allow customers to label individual cases as good or bad, and offer a powerful developer platform for writing rules and custom machine learning models,” wrote Smyte’s cofounder and CEO Pete Hunt, in an email to VentureBeat.
Smyte’s, whose software is designed for use by peer-to-peer marketplaces and social apps, claims to analyze nearly five billion data points every month to identify potentially malicious activities — when someone uses different credit cards over a given period of time, for example. Hunt would not disclose the number of customers, but Smyte’s website lists GoFundMe, Quora, TaskRabbit, Musical.ly, Meetup, and others as examples. The startup charges a monthly fee based on the number of monthly active users for social apps and the total dollar value of goods moving through the system for marketplaces.
According to a statement, Smyte plans on targeting additional sectors in 2018, including software as a service (SaaS) providers, financial services companies, and healthcare organizations. One issue Hunt and his team are trying to solve is effectively filtering the bad guys from the good. “Customers are realizing that they’re losing more to false positives from legacy one-sided fraud systems due to lost sales or excessive manual review,” Hunt wrote. In other words, blocking the bad guys is good, but letting the good guys through is just as important.
Smyte claims to be the only startup providing a unified security system for both marketplaces and social apps. According to Hunt, competitors like Cloudflare, Maxmind, and Castle.io provide partial services, requiring a customer to buy from multiple vendors to match the Smyte offering.
Today’s round was led by Avalon Ventures, with participation from existing investors Baseline Ventures, Founder Collective, Harrison Metal, Upside Partnership, and Y Combinator. Smyte has raised a total of $6.25 million to date.
The new capital will be used for hiring in sales, marketing, engineering, and data analysis. Based in San Francisco, Smyte currently has 12 employees.